With consumers lapping up the latest technology faster than ever before, research firm Forrester has released a new report on wearable devices and how they are set to become the next big thing. The firm noted, however, that wearable devices would only go mainstream once Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook – the big five platforms – and their developer communities — make more serious investment in the application of what the technology can do. Here’s what Forrester had to say about the big five and how wearable devices will only intensify the platform wars.
Forrester commended Apple for its polished marketing, strictly controlled delivery channel and brand – more so than any other companies on the list. Hence, any wearable devices in the future that Apple might introduce will have more potential to go mainstream. Forrester believes the combination of Apple’s expertise in hardware manufacturing, strong developer network, marketing power, and extensive distributions channels make a recipe for success. We’ve seen several wearable devices made to sync with iOS, such as the Lark sleep sensor wristband and the Jawbone UP fitness wristband, and a further foray into wearable technology seems to make sense for Apple.
The openness of Google’s Android platform has attracted WIMM Labs (WIMM One wearable computer), Sony (SmartWatch) and others – since product strategists can easily build wearable devices on the strength of Android and its many app developers. Aside from this, according to Forrester, Google has the search infrastructure ace card, which allows the wearable devices to be connected to a huge pool of information.
Microsoft’s software has and continues to power many products, but Forrester think the solutions have so far been geared towards the enterprise market – unlike how iOS and Android platforms have attracted many amateur developers. The latter is key in making sure that wearable devices can go mainstream, as they provide the infusion of raw energy and innovative ideas that slumbering giants often don’t possess. Microsoft, however, has the best depth sensor with its Kinect product.
With more than 100 million products, wearable devices can benefit from the all-encompassing product catalog, specs, reviews and personalized recommendations that the online retailer has in its world leading database. Although the Kindle is a success, providing apps and software solutions for other companies’ devices would be best for Amazon’s wearable device strategy – as opposed to manufacturing Amazon’s own device. It remains to be seen though, if the digital retailing giant has the goods to deliver a product of this caliber in the near future.
With a database of more than 800 million people, Facebook can become a major partner player in the wearable device market. The facial recognition feature that Facebook implements would be a perfect match for wearable devices. Imagine finding out information about a person’s relationship status just by performing a face search on your Google Glass. Creepy? Yes. Will people love it? Absolutely. Let the player hating ensue.
The fight for platform supremacy
According to the research firm, wearable devices will take off three years from now – with every product strategist out there scrambling to come up with the best solution. Since the software platforms are key to gain mainstream acceptance, this will only heighten the platform wars among the big five. We can expect to see more squabbling over patents, intellectual property and talent. While Apple is expected to spark innovation by adding more sensors and connectivity to its iOS devices, Forrester thinks Google will ultimately dominate the wearable market — at least for the short term — due to the open nature of the platform, and the increasingly prevalence of Android devices.
Ultimately, wearable augment reality oriented technologies would be much better for consumers if the big five could play nice. For now though, what are your thoughts on augmented technologies? Would you buy Google Glasses? What if Apple was to bring to market a unique wearable technology? What do you think of wearable technologies? Are you down? Let us know!
Also, if you’re a super nerd like us, then check out our dedicated Future of Android section!